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  • Those Concerned About America’s Border Hoping ‘Third Country’ Rule Will Alleviate Crisis

    Daily Surge Summary: An imminent change to America’s immigration policy could make considerable difference in the numbers of those seeking entrance to the U.S. via refugee status. 

    In a significant move with potentially far-reaching practical implications, the Trump administration Monday announced a new “safe third country” policy which drastically reduces the number of Central American migrants eligible to receive asylum in the U.S.

    JACK CROWE/National Review discloses the change, which will take effect Tuesday when it is published in the Federal Register,

    requires that migrants first apply for refugee status in Mexico, or whatever country they enter after leaving home, before seeking asylum in the U.S. Under the policy, only those migrants who have been denied asylum in another country will be eligible to seek asylum in the U.S.

    In a statement, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan said

    “Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits.”

    Of course, multiple legal challenges are expected to the rule change. It is designed to dissuade economic migrants from applying for asylum. Exceptions are designated for victims of human trafficking and other crimes.

    Attorney General Bill Barr said the move would stop “forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States—while ensuring that no one is removed from the United States who is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted on account of a protected ground.”

    The policy shift builds on the previously implemented Migrant Protection Protocols, which required that certain asylum-seekers remain in Mexico while their cases are being adjudicated.

    Presently, the U.S. only has a similar “safe third country” agreement with Canada and administration officials have thus far fallen short in their efforts to come to a comparable understanding with Mexico. Guatemala, El Salvador and other Central American countries are looking at a possible regional compact which would strike a similar deal with the U.S., but … ta-daaa! … a Guatemalan legal challenge is currently standing in the way of finalization of such an agreement. In fact, at this point it looks like prospects for any accord with Guatemala have collapsed.

    I suppose Americans can take some comfort that it’s not just in the fifty states that courts hobble promising immigration and border solutions.

    That said, the activation of this Trump measure here in the U.S. looks to be just around the corner …

    … as the battle to secure America’s borders continues.

    Image: Adapted from: “SFO Protests” by IndivisibleSF is licensed under CC BY 2.0 


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